GKN Driveline, the UK-headquartered global driveline leader, has opened a new cold-weather facility at the vast Smithers Winter Test Center (SWTC) in Brimley, Michigan. The opening of the new site means that GKN now has proving grounds for extreme cold-weather conditions on three continents – Europe, Asia and North America.
The Michigan Upper Peninsula test site comprises a new 10,000 square-foot facility within the SWTC’s 750-acre complex, where performance evaluations of all parts of a vehicle can be conducted in the harshest of winter conditions. It provides GKN Driveline’s North American customers with a local base at which to comprehensively test the company’s All-Wheel-Drive and eDrive systems in the extremes of cold and hazardous, low-traction road conditions.
GKN Driveline’s facility is adjacent to the main SWTC track and features a large central workshop bay with four vehicle hoists. Three private garages ensure confidentiality and security for GKN’s customers.
“All-wheel-drive technology continues to grow in overall consumer acceptance and demand and has emerged as a key product differentiator for vehicle manufacturers,” said Gavin Streather, Senior Director, Global Engineering Processes and Systems at GKN Driveline, who will oversee the facility’s operation. “The private facility will allow our engineers to collaborate with customer engineering teams to develop and tune all-wheel-drive systems that meet unique brand characteristics for a variety of vehicles.”
World-class extreme-weather testing facilities are of vital importance to GKN Driveline’s global leadership in the development of next-generation of automotive driveline systems. The new facility in the US joins GKN’s established cold-climate proving grounds in Arjeplog, Sweden and China.